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February 26, 2018 - 11:29pm

City Council cites 'experience in N.Y.' in going with Novak to conduct manager search

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, The Novak Consulting Group.

Extensive experience in the recruitment for city manager positions, including a successful search for the Oneonta (N.Y.) city manager in 2016, gave The Novak Consulting Group of Cincinnati, Ohio, the edge in the City of Batavia’s quest to find someone to replace former City Manager Jason Molino.

“You know really, honestly, with references and what was contained with all proposals – they were pretty even, even with the pricing that they were going to charge it was pretty close, so it really came down to their New York State experience,” said City Human Resource Specialist Dawn Fairbanks following tonight’s City Council meeting at the City Centre’s Council Board Room.

In a Special Business Meeting that took place after the regularly scheduled Conference Meeting, Council members voted 9-0 to enter into a contract with Novak to conduct an executive search that, according to officials, could last as long as five months.

Fairbanks said that she will immediately let the other two vendors know that they were not selected and attorneys will prepare the contract for City Council President Eugene Jankowski to sign.

“Tomorrow I will be making contact with all the proposals, with the vendors that submitted proposals and let them know the outcome,” Fairbanks said. “Legal will finish up reviewing the contract so that Council President Jankowski can sign it and then we’ll get the ball rolling.”

Fairbanks was part of the City’s search committee along with Jankowski and Council members Adam Tabelski and Robert Bialkowski.

Tabelski said they received seven proposals and whittled it down to three companies. After reference checks and telephone interviews, Novak was selected.

“One firm rose to the top and that was Novak Consulting Group out of Ohio,” Tabelski said. “They have the most experience and while most (firms) had relatively the same fee, Novak was in the low range.”

Jankowski said Novak’s recruitment team will be interviewing all Council members plus some staff and private citizens. The search – which is estimated to cost the city upwards of $26,200 – will consist of advertising, marketing, identifying and screening potential candidates and interviewing by both Novak and City Council.

Both Jankowski and Fairbanks mentioned Novak’s guarantees that the person who is hired will stay in Batavia for at least two years and that they will not try to recruit that person for a job somewhere else.

Jankowski, partially in response to a question from city resident John Roach, said salary that has not been paid to a city manager or assistant city manager (since both positions are vacant) could be used to offset the cost of the executive search.

In other action, Council moved several agenda resolutions to be voted upon to its next Business Meeting, which is scheduled for March 12:

-- The 2018-19 budget of $26.9 million which calls for a tax levy of $5.25 million and a 2-percent salary increase for 10 supervisors and department heads, effective April 1.

-- Increases in water rates and meter fees (3.5 percent) and capital improvement fees (10 percent).

-- Establishing user fees for City Centre Mall merchants as a result of the litigation settlement that gives the City maintenance responsibilities of the concourse. They also will vote on whether to hire a full-time building maintenance worker (at $14-$18 per hour) and four part-time custodians to work in the mall.

-- Renewal of an agreement with Genesee County to pay 20 percent of the Genesee County Youth Bureau director's time providing administrative services for the City Youth Bureau, and revising the Youth Bureau bylaws.

-- Securing Bond Anticipation Notes for $3.3 million as up-front funds to complete street and sidewalk improvement projects, and another $750,000 to finance an upgrade in the municipality’s software system. The street and sidewalk funds will be reimbursed to the city as they are federal projects.

-- Accepting a bid from The Tree Doctor, based in Clarence, for annual tree trimming and removal. Depending upon the size of the tree, costs range from $200 to $3,290 per tree, with trimming costs set at $310 per tree.

Council also approved six events:

-- Care-A-Van Ministries cookouts, Thursdays, June 7 through Aug. 30, 5-8 p.m., Austin Park.

-- Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union 5K/10K Walk/Run, May 6, 9-11 a.m., starting at the credit union property on Jefferson Avenue.

-- Kiwanis Club Easter Egg Hunt, March 31, 9 a.m., Centennial Park.

-- GLOW Corporate Cup 5K, Aug. 2, 6 p.m., Centennial Park.

-- Batavia Concert Band series, June 27 through Aug. 8, 7 p.m., Centennial Park.

-- Living Waters Apostolic Ministries outreach, July 22, noon-3 p.m., Austin Park.

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